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Who cares? Student's values and the mathematics curriculum

Jude Ocean

My aim in this article is to encourage educators to deeply consider the values of justice and care in curriculum design and delivery. To support this argument I describe interviews with 12 women who experienced a "separate knowing" (rules-based, abstract—Becker, 1996), high school mathematics education. Most rejected mathematics because they found it intolerant; they regarded it as unfair and unjust, or they felt uncared for. Their comments are described in detail. It is possible for curriculum design to incorporate issues of justice and care. Examples of mathematics programmes designed to attend to issues of care, incorporating group work and co-operation and paying particular attention to possibilities for friendship and care for other students, are given (Morrow, 1996; Rogers, 1995), as is an example of a mathematics programme designed to teach social justice (Gutstein, 2003).

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